Helped by new parent Wal-mart, (s WMT) streaming video provider Vudu has rapidly expanded the number of consumer electronics devices that its video on demand service service is available on, now with more than 300 supported connected devices. But what was the one glaring place Vudu’s streaming service was missing, especially in light of competing services from Netflix, (s NFLX) Hulu and Amazon? (s AMZN) The web browser.
That is, until now. Vudu announced that it will now provide Flash-based video streaming through its website at Vudu.com. The website will have all the same titles as can be found on the digital storefront used for connected devices, allowing users to access content from the browser when they are unable to watch streams on their connected TV, Blu-ray players, game consoles or broadband set-top boxes. Users will also be able to purchase a title on one device, and view it later through the Vudu website.
Vudu’s browser-based streaming will open up new possibilities for viewership, but there is a downside: in contrast to the ultra-high quality video that it serves to TVs, Blu-ray players and other devices, its website streams are only available in standard definition. That could hinder consumer adoption of the service, at least in the short term, or until the quality of the video streams improves.
It might seem counterintuitive for Vudu not to have streamed through its website before now, but it’s important to note that Vudu’s background is firmly entrenched in hardware. Even before Vudu started striking deals to embed its digital storefront on connected TVs from vendors like LG, it sold a dedicated set-top box with peer-to-peer based delivery technology.